First-time medal winners dominated the podium as the world’s best canoe slalom paddlers came unstuck on the final day of the ICF world cup in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Sunday.

France’s Claire Jacquet broke through to win gold in the women’s C1, her first medal since 2012, while Slovakia’s Andrej Malek thrilled the home crowd with his first ever medal by winning the men’s K1.

Olympic gold medalists and world champions were left floundering on the demanding Bratislava whitewater course, with four-time world champion Jessica Fox, reigning men’s world champion Hannes Aigner, and world cup winner Vit Prindis of the Czech Republic among those to miss medals.

Jacquet was close to tears after her win was confirmed. The race is also part of the Olympic selection trials for the French team, giving the 31-year-old valuable points in the race to Tokyo.

“I’m really happy to have done that today, for the selection for the French Olympic team – it’s just so amazing and I can’t really explain my feelings,” Jacquet said.

“I have never done that before. Of course it’s frustrating, because I have always been in the game, but every time I miss something, a little thing, so I am out.

“So today I’m more confident with the course. It’s just a good story, it’s just incredible.”

Jacquet posted a time of 112.15, to just squeeze out Andorran teenager Monica Doria Vilarrubla on 112.32. It was Vilarrubla’s first ever world cup medal.

Brazil’s Ana Satila took the bronze in 113.32.

Malek headed a new look podium in the men’s K1, the Slovakian posting 88.54 to win his first ever world cup medal.

“I’m very happy, but right now I don’t feel so good. But I’m sure that after some time I will feel very good,” Malek said.

“It’s nice because I’ve been training hard every day, so this is a good result. I like this course, we are training here so often, so we know it.”

Poland’s Michal Pasiut also won his first ever world cup medal, his 88.66 enough to secure silver, while France’s Boris Neveu, the 2014 world champion, finished third with 90.13.

Former world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Vavrinek Hradilek returned to the top of the podium in the men's extreme canoe slalom, holding out Brazil's Pedro Goncalves and Russia's Aleksandr Nepogodin. 

"It's pretty brutal, you always get nervous on the start ramp," Hradilek said.

"It's a young discipline in ICF races, and I'm pretty positive about this year's world championships in Prague, I think we will have a lot of people come along."

In the women's final, Americans Ashley Nee and Evy Leibfarth filled the top two positions, with Russia's Daria Kuznetsova taking the bronze.

"It's a super fun event, and super challenging," Nee said.

"They put the gates in some pretty hard spots which made it a very exciting race. There's that element of spontaniety which makes the race lots of fun."

The third ICF canoe slalom world cup begins on Friday in Tacen, Slovenia.

RESULTS

Women’s C1

  1. JACQUET Claire                       (FRA)  112.15 (4 penalties)
  2. DORIA VILARRUBLA Monica (AND)  112.32 (6)
  3. SATILA Ana                               (BRA)  113.80 (4)

Men’s K1

  1. MALEK Andrej   (SVK)   88.54 (0)
  2. PASIUT Michal   (POL)   88.66 (0)
  3. NEVEU Boris       (FRA)  90.13  (0)

Women’s extreme slalom

  1. NEE Ashley               (USA)
  2. LEIBFARTH Evy         (USA)
  3. KUZNETSOVA Daria (RUS)

Men’s extreme slalom

  1. HRADILEK Vavrinec         (CZE)
  2. GONCALVES Pedro         (BRA)
  3. NEPOGODIN Aleksandr (RUS)

 

France Claire Jacquet Bratislava 2019

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